What does Occupy stand for? The Occupy movement seeks to be an equalizing force for good in a world dominated by greed. And let's just get the big elephant out of the way right up front: for some, but not all, that means smashing capitalism.
Smashing capitalism sounds crazy to some, because that makes us sound like a rag-tag group of socialists. And socialism, goes the corporate media refrain, is anti-American.
Without debating the merits of capitalism versus socialism, perhaps we can agree that the way capitalism operates right now in our global culture delivers poverty, misery, and is downright homicidal.
The capitalism-as-homicidal-force claim is one that can be made without hyperbole.
People do, in fact, die for lack of access to healthcare. Human consumption is, in fact, accelerating the destruction of our planet. People do, in fact, die in wars waged based on lies that profit a precious few. Over 5 million children globally each year do not reach a 5th birthday because they die of starvation. This is not because the system that puts man on the moon or can squeeze an entire library onto a computer chip the size of a thumbnail has failed to find a way to feed these children. Rather, our system is so competitive that it accepts these deaths as a natural component of a capitalist model that dominates world markets. In short, the system is driven by corporate greed, not human need.
And greed, to take back the popular phrase, is not good.
The question some of us within the Occupy movement are trying to solve is this one: what would a world look like that had a culture and an economic system that places human need above corporate greed, and how do we bring that world into being?
Who cares what it's called? Call it Socialism, Real Democracy Now, or Chunky-Monkey-Cherry Garcia. The world needs to change radically and dramatically--and it needs to change fast.
The movement has resisted clearly defined answers to distill a singular message because it believes the following: No single individual among us has all of the answers. Rather, we believe that collectively we can come up with solutions to the problems that face us. Some within the movement are reformists, seeking little more than to "get money out of politics" so that our representative democracy can function without the corrosive influence of big corporate money. Others want to see the system replaced altogether.
All of us refuse to allow big money determine our future.
All of us think that we can collectively do better at solving the problems that face us than the politicians that have been bought and paid for by corporations.
Spring has sprung, and we need you, the 99% that have been watching from the sidelines, to join us. The city you live closest to may not have a 24-hour physical occupation any longer, but the movement continues to meet, to plan, to dream.
Some people work on Occupy full-time, others participate when they can, where they can.
You will find your place. Join us.
Dennis is the creator and host of the web series Acronym: because you stand for something (www.acronymTV.com) and his feature length documentary on the Occupy movement, "American Autumn: an occudoc" will premiere this June at (www.occudoc.org).